Body image flexibility contributes to explaining the link between body dissatisfaction and body appreciation in White college-bound females

 Jennifer B. Webb

 Limited research has provided a theoretically-driven accounting of the association between negative and positive body image occurring within persons nor clarified what factors may contribute to explaining this relationship. To address this gap in the existing literature, the present study, guided by an overarching affect regulation theoretical framework, evaluated the potential indirect effect of body dissatisfaction on body appreciation via body image flexibility in a college-bound sample of 84 White older adolescent females. Participants provided self-reported height and weight, which were used to calculate body mass index (BMI) and completed the Body Image-Acceptance and Action Questionnaire (BI-AAQ; Sandoz, Wilson, Merwin, & Kellum, 2013) as a measure of body image flexibility and the Body Appreciation Scale (BAS; Avalos, Tylka, & Wood-Barcalow, 2005). Body dissatisfaction was operationalized as three types of body size discrepancy scores (i.e., current minus personal ideal, current minus cultural ideal, current minus typical female ethnic peer) using Pulvers’ Figure Rating Scale (Pulvers et al., 2004). In all models tested, body image flexibility partially mediated the associations between body dissatisfaction and body appreciation. Results were retained controlling for BMI. Preliminary findings suggest that at this developmental juncture, bolstering body image flexibility affect regulation skills may be an optimal target for supporting body appreciation when body dissatisfaction is elicited by internal and external body image threats.

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